Thursday, December 15, 2022

Trust and Surrender

Richard Rohr on “the Soul’s Foundation”

The following by Franciscan friar and ecumenical teacher Richard Rohr is from his 2019 book, The Universal Christ.


From the very beginning, faith, hope, and love are planted deep within our nature – indeed they are our very nature as children of God (Romans 5:1–5, 8:14–17). Yet we have to awaken, allow, and advance this core identity by saying a conscious yes to it and drawing upon it as a reliable and Absolute Source.

Our “yes” to such implanted faith, hope, and love plays a crucial role in the divine equation. Human freedom matters. We matter. We have to choose to trust reality and even our physicality, which is finally to trust ourselves. How can people who do not trust themselves know how to trust anyone or anything at all? Trust, like love, is of one piece.

In the practical order, we find our Original Goodness, the image of God that we are, when we can discover and own the faith, hope, and love deeply planted within us:

A trust in inner coherence itself. “It all means something!” (Faith)
A trust that this coherence is positive and going somewhere good. (Hope)
A trust that this coherence includes me and even defines me. (Love)

This is the soul’s foundation. That we are capable of such trust and surrender is the objective basis for human goodness and holiness. It almost needs to be chosen again day by day, lest we slide toward cynicism, victim playing and making, or self-pity. No philosophy or government, no law or reason, can fully promise or offer us this attitude, but the gospel can and does. Healthy religion shares a compelling and attractive foundation for human goodness and dignity and shows us ways to build on that benevolent foundation.

Being created in the image of God (Genesis 1:26–27) gives everyone an equal and inherent dignity. However, in every age and culture, we have seen regressions toward racism, sexism, homophobia, militarism, ableism, and classism. This pattern tells me that unless we see dignity as being given universally, objectively, and from the beginning by God, we humans will constantly think it is up to us to decide. But our tragic history demonstrates that one group cannot be trusted to portion out worthiness and dignity to another. Our criteria tend to be self-referential and thus highly prejudiced, and the powerless and disadvantaged always lose out.

For the planet and for all living beings to move forward, we can rely on nothing less than an inherent original goodness and a universally shared dignity. Only then can we build, because the foundation is strong, and is itself good. Surely this is what Jesus meant when he told us to “dig and dig deep, and build your house on rock” (Luke 6:48). When we start with a positive vision, a resounding yes, we are more likely to proceed with generosity and hope, and we have a much greater chance of ending with an even bigger yes, which we would call “resurrection.”

For more of Richard Rohr at The Wild Reed, see:
In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr (Part I)
In the Garden of Spirituality – Richard Rohr (Part II)
Meeting (and Embodying) the Lover God
Celebrating the “Color of Spring” . . . and a Cosmic Notion of the Christ
Richard Rohr: Quote of the Day – July 22. 2010

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Trusting God’s Generous Invitation
Giving Thanks: A Spiritual Act of Trust
The Art of Surrender
Love As Exploring Vulnerability
The Longing for Love: God’s Primal Beatitude
Surrender Yourself
Jesus and the Art of Surrender
One Overwhelming Fire of Love
In the Garden of Spirituality – Marianne Williamson
Autumn: Season of Transformation and Surrender
Soul: The Connecting Force in Life
Thomas Moore on the “Ageless Soul”
The Soul’s Beloved
Awakening the Wild Soul
Soul Deep
The Soul Within the Soul
The Source Is Within You
Spiritual Caregivers as “Soul Companions”
You Are My Goal, Beloved One
The Soul of a Dancer

Image: Calvin Royal III and João Menegussi of the American Ballet Theatre rehearsing Touché, “a passionate male pas de deux,” at Silver Bay Retreat Center, NY. (Photographer unknown)

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